Classics – A Heritage Not Lost
It's finally stopped snowing, the (artificial) Christmas
tree is packed away, there's no more turkey in the 'fridge,
finally some time to sit back and tie some flies. I always
start the "tying season" with the same fly. Maybe because
it's so simple, maybe because it's one of the only flies I use.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere Quebec
Whatever the reason, while I'm going through the motions,
I often have the same reflection on things.
Funny how each generation thinks that their "new" trend is
totally unique to humanity.
Take music for example, folks always think that some new tune
or composition is wonderfully fresh and completely revolutionary.
Sorry, (in my honest opinion) all music is "simply" a re-mix 'n
match of a relatively few fundamental passages.
I used to sit in for some groups (1st or 2nd trombone) and would
often have to sight read right out of the gate on opening night.
Not really a problem as I'm more a technician than a creative
type. The same thing happened a while back when I was looking for
the trout dry fly for my home waters.
I'd been fishing the river for several years and was looking
for a nice, easy to tie, easy to fish, dry. Traditional dries
on the Ste-Marguerite for sea run brookies are giant dries. Bombers,
Birds, bugs. Anything smaller than a #10 is considered too small.
Anglers here use these 'cause you don't need to change flies
when you switch from salmon to trout, and they do produce some
pretty spectacular results.
Skated, skittered, popped or swung, for generations, these B-52
sized flies have adorned the vests of many a fly fisher over here.
Since I like to sit back and observe quite a lot, I noticed
that when folks fished these flies, they would get quite a
few refusals or just down right flush the pool. I knew I'd
like to find a more subtle offering.
I also knew I'd probably never invent a fly that had never
been tied before, so I hunted around in the library for a
recipe fitting my needs. All I was looking for was a brown
hackle (that's all I have in decent dry hackles), a simple
body and no tail. I found the Red Tag.
To find out a bit more about this unassuming fly, you can
check out Alan Shepherd's article on it in the
Mine have a bit less hackle and the body is not as full,
but the rest is the same.
I can also remember the first time I tied some of these up and
hit the river. A friend wanted to try the trout in the upper
reaches of the river. Having recently been through a tough
divorce, Martial was getting into fly fishing with gusto.
We arrived at the Warden's camp on the 5B before sun up and
strung up by flashlight. I dug around in my pockets for the
dry box and pulled a brand spankin' new #16 Red Tag. I had
also tied up new leaders the night before and secured these
to our lines, topping them off with 2-3 lb. tippets.
I set up with Martial in the deep pool and showed him how
to get a looong slow dead drift through the pod of
bruisers sitting out under the drop off.
"Just like on TV," the very first drifts got nice hits.
So we quickly smashed down the barbs on the flies.
After all, with trout like this, one each is enough for supper
Martial M. with his very first trout on a dry fly
Life doesn't get any better than this. A full cooler of grub,
hot coffee in the percolator, sunshine and dry flies. ~ Chris
Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops,
British Columbia. He has been fly fishing
on and off ever since he was 10 years old.
Chris became serious about the sport within
the last 10 years.
"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time
guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in
central Quebec. I've been fishing this river
for about 10 years now and started guiding
about 5 years ago when the local guide's
association sort of stopped functioning."
Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout
and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon.
"I often don't even charge service fees, as
I'm more interested in promoting the river
than making cash. I like to get new comers
to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for
anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around
here makes some of the old clan see Salmon
fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our
shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich
side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack
Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He
is of Chinese origin although his parents were
born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend,
Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent
started fly fishing with me in October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
~ Christopher Chin
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